Social media has affected the way we do so many different things. From communicating with friends across the globe to sharing our opinions on current events, it’s truly changed the way we present ourselves to the world. This brings us to our next point, which is that social media affects the way we take pictures—and here’s why.
A Different Era
It used to be that when we took pictures, we had them taken of us by someone else. We smiled normally because that’s what you did. We smiled because it’s proper etiquette, and it looks pleasant when we look back at them later on.
That’s when the selfie came along. With the advent of smartphones and their exceptional photo-taking quality, people starting taking selfies of themselves and sharing them with friends, family, and on social media platforms.
A Picture Should Feel Necessary
But now things have gotten to a point where people feel the need to take a selfie of themselves whenever they post something online. If someone posts a long-winded opinion about something, they’ll usually complement that text with a selfie of themselves smiling and joyful—even if a photo wasn’t really necessary to get their point across in the first place.
At the risk of sounding judgemental, we feel that this illustrates a bizarre phenomenon in the way we take pictures. It’s one thing to take a selfie or photo when it’s there to commemorate a special time or a beautiful memory. These, we feel, are extremely warranted.
But when someone adds a smiling selfie to a Facebook post that doesn’t really need a picture attached to it—and it’s clear to the reader that the selfie in question was taken specifically for the corresponding post—it feels a bit off. There’s a feeling of vulnerability that comes across, but not the kind that’s endearing. We feel like we’re being actively smiled at, almost like an advertisement.
This isn’t a knock on the people sharing their smiles, but more about our current social media culture that pressures people into turning everything into a visual experience, to optimize likes, comments, and overall engagement.
Call us old-fashioned, but a genuine smile is something you can’t fake—no matter how many filters are attached.